Nexium is a popular heart burn drug that belongs to a class of medications called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). While very effective in treating GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease or acid reflux disease), Nexium may be associated with a number of serious side effects, including bone fractures and kidney problems.
Nexium – the “Little Purple Pill” – was launched as a prescription medication by AstraZeneca in 2001. Nexium and other PPIs reduce the production of acid by blocking an enzyme in the wall of the stomach that produces acid. The prescription medication is indicated for:
Following its launch, Nexium quickly became a popular prescription medication, netting AstraZeneca more than $14 billion by 2005. In 2012, Pfizer, Inc. acquired exclusive global rights from AstraZeneca to market non-prescription Nexium. In 2004, the FDA approved over-the-counter Nexium 24HR.
Nexium users should check with their doctor if they experience any of the following:
New research indicates that long-term exposure to Nexium and other proton pump inhibitors may cause the blood vessels to age more rapidly. According to a study published in Circulation Research in May 2016, this could explain the possible association between the drugs and certain serious complications, including heart attacks and kidney failure. Read More
In 2016, a study published in JAMA: Internal Medicine reported that patients treated with PPIs might be more likely to develop Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). The study drew data from 10,500 patients who used PPIs between 1996 and 2015, and found that those who used the drugs twice a day were 46% more likely to develop CKD. Those who used a PPI once per day had a 15% higher risk. Read More
A second study published that same year in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology suggested that patients who use Nexium and other proton pump inhibitors may be more likely to develop kidney failure or chronic kidney disease compared to those who took another class of heartburn medications. Overall, the results suggested that patients taking the medications are 96% more likely to develop kidney failure and 28% more likely to develop chronic kidney disease. Riske increased with higher doses and longer duration of use. Read More
In June 2015, a study published in PLOS One linked the use of PPIs to an increased risk of heart attack. The study looked at medical records from 2.9 million patients who were using drugs, and suggested that patients who take the medications had a 16 to 21% increased risk of having a heart attack.
Seniors who take Nexium and other proton pump inhibitors may face an increased risk of dementia, according to a recently-published study. The research, which appeared JAMA Neurology in April 2016, suggested that regular proton pump inhibitor use was associated with a 44% increased risk of dementia compared with those not receiving the medications. Read More
A study published in May 2016 suggested that women who used Nexium and similar heartburn drugs would do just as well on lower doses. Published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, the study involved around 100 patients, roughly half male and half female. All had been diagnosed with erosive esophagitis, and all had been undergoing long-term therapy with proton pump inhibitor. Half were treated with a reduced dose for an 8 week period. According to the authors of the report, women were three times more likely to tolerate the lower dosage compared to men. Read More
In 2011, the consumer advocacy group, Public Citizen, filed a petition with the FDA asking the agency to add new safety information to the labels for all prescription PPIs, including Nexium. Among other things, the group wanted information regarding pneumonia and bone fractures highlighted in a Black Box, the FDA’s most serious safety warning.
In 2014, the FDA granted part of Public Citizen’s petition, but stopped short of including the Black Box Warning sought by the group. Safety information added to PPI labesl included:
In December 2010, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation centralized all Nexium bone fracture lawsuits in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California.
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